Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Friday, February 17, 2017

AND SO GO THE GALLANT - FEBRUARY 1942

AND SO GO THE GALLANT
February 1942


The second full month of World War II was relatively quiet.  Hundreds of local men were leaving home to begin their training.  Those who remained home attempted to make life as normal as it could be, except for those who kept on preparing for another all out attack on America, and in particular, the soft underbelly America, the Georgia  coastline between Charleston, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.

Early in the war, government officials realized that an abundant  food supply was be just as important and guns, tanks, ships, planes, and ammunition.  The farmers of the Rentz community gathered together on February 3 to discuss plans for the Food for Victory program and how it could be improved with increased peanut protection.  Week day meetings were held at Antioch Baptist Church and Baker Baptist Church under the direction of Herman P. Gilder and W.L. Eubanks, agriclural teachers at Rentz High School.

In the early weeks and months of the war, one primary objective was to rebuild the severely damaged naval and army facilities at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Roger Lissery, of Dexter, was one of those men who were assigned to reconstruct vital links between the military positions on the islands.  Lissery, who was present on the December 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, worked on the re-connection of the links between Waialua and Wahaiwa.

One of the first Dublin women to feel the loss of a loved one was Mrs. Albert H. Baldwin, whose brother Clifford Harrison Parkerson was Dodge County’s first casualty of World War II.  Parkerson, a signal man aboard the USS Truxtun, was washed out into a cold, turbulent sea on February 18 during a vicious North Atlantic gale while the ship was on convoy duty.

Hubert Hall returned to Dublin on February 5. Hall was serving aboard the merchant ship Meanticut moored in Calcutta, India on December 7, 1941.  For nearly two months the ship traveled across the treacherous waters of the South Pacific and managed to avoid being sunk by Japanese submarines.  Ironically, on the day Hall returned home, he had a date with the local draft board, which would have loved to have an experienced sailor in the ranks of the U.S. Navy.

Ruth Gordon, the county’s public health nurse and a veteran of World War I, became the first female member of Post No. 17 of the American Legion.

To accommodate the public, registration for males between the ages of 20 and 44 was shifting from draft board offices to county schools, while Dublin residents reported to Dublin High and Washington Street High to answer the call of our nation for military service.

To keep the public aware of what was happening in the war, the Carnegie Library established a war information station under the direction of librarian Roberta Smith.

A Defense School began a series of classes for three weeks on February 23 in the Georgia Power building on the north side of the courthouse square.  All volunteers for air raid wardens were requested to attend.  Law enforcement officers and firemen met at the Calhoun Street School and the High School respectively.

That same week, Mrs. Roy Orr announced the first shipment under the Bundles for America program, which she chaired.  A box of 40 sweaters, 15 lounging robes, 4 dozen undershirts, 12 blankets and 3 quilts, sewn by Dublin women, were shipped to soldiers around the country. Additional funds were raised through the sale of matches by the Adelaine Baum Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Miss Baum said “Let’s each and every one of us try and do our bit by helping this way, as this is defense work in a big way.”  She  headed the committee to gather up old clothes and take them to Pierce and Orr’s grocery store from where they were shipped to New York City for reconditioning.

On the last day of the month of February, Wimberly Napier, a native of the Montrose ommunity, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  Wimberly, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, would eventually become a general in the United States Air Force.

In the front window of the home of Mr. and Mrs. B.H. Willis was a service flag with three stars designating that the couple had three sons serving in the armed services. Two other sons were working in civilian defense programs.  Maynard, a 14-year non-commissioned officer veteran, was serving with the Army on the West Coast.  Martin Willis, a Dublin councilman, was the chief of fire fighting in Laurens County.  Hubert was a member of the Georgia State Patrol in Thomasville, while the youngest sons, Earl and Frank were serving in the Army and the Marines respectively.

H.H. Dudley,  Chairman of the Colored Civilian Defense Program, organized a motorcade of more than 100 citizens to travel to massive rally at the Macon City Auditorium.

Local officials were continuing to search for support for the construction of a modern day airport in Dublin.  The movement eventually was changed to seek an even larger airport to support the patients and staff of the U.S. Naval Hospital.  Businessman Herschel Lovett offered a substantial sum to begin the project during a meeting held at the New Dublin Hotel.

Seaman Second Class Edward Towns, of Dublin, was enjoying great success in the Navy’s Radio Operations Training School in Charleston, S.C..  Towns was later cited for his meritorious service aboard submarines.

Edward Jackson, a 1937 graduate of Dublin High School, worked as an electrician during the construction of the U.S.S. Alabama.  The Alabama’s most famous sailor was Hall of Fame pitcher, Bob Feller, who served as twin 40-millimeter gunner aboard the ship in 1943.

Wex Jordan, of Dublin and a member of the Army Air Corps, was voted by his teammates as the Most Valuable Player of the Georgia Tech Yellow jackets for the 1941 season.  Jordan would be killed in a aerial training accident on November 11, 1943.

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